Naomi Osaka announced the painful decision to withdraw from the French Open after receiving backlash for not completing media after her tournament.
The 23-year-old announced her plans to skip press conferences ahead of the tournament and cited the preservation of her mental health.
However, she was still fined $15,000 and received backlash from the league.
“The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Naomi wrote in a statement posted on social media.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.
“The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
Naomi Osaka immediately received an outpour of support from celebrities, including Serena Williams who is currently participating in the French Open.
“I feel for Naomi,” said Williams following her first-round victory on Monday, per the Associated Press. “Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin.”
She continued: “Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. That’s the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can.”